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Jacob Stainer (c. 1619 – 1683) was the earliest and best known Austrian luthier.
Stainer was born and died in Absam, in present-day Austria. His designs influenced instrument construction in Germany, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, parts of Italy, and several other countries.
He may have been associated with the luthiers of Cremona, Italy, in particular the Amati family, and with the Klotz family of violin makers of Mittenwald, Germany. His instruments were the most sought-after throughout Europe until the late 18th century, when changing performance conditions led musicians to seek a different sound. There were only a few hundred produced and each of these are known and accounted for.
At the beginning of the 20th century mail order houses such as Sears began selling inexpensive violins with the Stainer label. These were produced in the thousands first in Germany and then in Czechoslovakia.
Today they sell for $150.00 to $450.00 each depending on their condition